Anne Neilson Fine Art is pleased to introduce another impressive female artist on our roster: Eliza Thomas. A well-traveled artist, Eliza iterates how her works are often inspired by the natural formations that she encounters while she travels, and how she enjoys painting in quiet, rustic places that provide a refuge from daily life. To learn more about Eliza’s fascinating opinions regarding her artwork, read the exclusive interview below!
When did you start your career in art? How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?
I committed to art as a “day job” in 2005, after completing an artist residency program in France that winter and spring. I had always known I was an artist, but never allowed myself to think that it was a viable career. In college [Columbia University’s Barnard College], I was strictly an academic. I studied Medieval Italian poetry. Albeit there were no art classes, what I learned about artistic sensibility, sensuality, emotionality and the like, through four years of immersion in all those verses, is more than I believe I ever would have via formal art classes. The six months I spent in the Luberon in Provence changed all that—I painted all day every day and realized there was nothing else. It was just a calling.
Describe your aesthetic in three words.
My honest response to this is that my aesthetic: Changes Every Day. This question is a challenge because I feel my aesthetic is vast, in terms of what I like and what appeals to me on an artistic/emotional level. That said, I do love shadow, light, reflections.
Describe your artistic process and preparation.
My artistic process is very intuitive. I really never plan paintings too much in detail beyond ideas about color(s) and material(s) and format and basic approach. I conceive of them in my mind and then, when ready to paint, I try to clear my head. Once having done that—and the key is having complete silence in my studio save for the sound of a box fan maybe—I just let myself go and try not to think. Painting for me is a moving meditation. Intuition and chance are also guiding factors in my process.
Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?
Well, I have lots of favorite paintings! And I love them for how different they all can be.
Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?
Personally, my family and my friends inspire me. Professionally, I am inspired by the artists Darell Roberts and Malou Flato, because they have an insanely committed relationship to their work!
Darrell Roberts (c.1972), Flow of the Wind, 2016, 12″x9″
Malou Flato, Gianicolo, acrylic, 60″ x 72″
What challenges do I think exist in the world of fine art?
I can only speak for myself, and that challenge is to stay true to oneself and not compare. To believe in one’s own way, and to keep learning and growing and listening. To trust the process, and to keep the purity of the inspiration intact at all times.
Biggest accomplishment to date?
I am unable to answer “my biggest accomplishment to date,” because making small accomplishments along the way is my focus.
What is your studio like?
I very much enjoy my studio. It is comforting, rustic, and spacious…and vacillates between order and chaos. Which I love.
A random fact about you:
I LOVE decorative pillows, and collecting fabric, even though I can’t sew.
Favorite place to vacation? And/or dream trip?
I’m dying to go to the Blue Lagoon geothermal springs in Iceland. And I would love to return to Scandinavia. My favorite place to vacation/retreat is a little log cabin on the banks of the magical Cypress Creek, about an hour outside of Austin.
Blue Lagoon Hot Springs in Iceland
What are you currently reading?
I have a stack of books next to my bed that I need to read! But I am somewhat ADD so I tend to mostly read articles in The New Yorker magazine. I also read a lot of cookbooks, which—along with cooking—I find extremely soothing.
What are you currently listening to?
As I answer these questions, I can hear the sound of a floor fan to my right…I also really love Beethoven.
What would you be doing if you were not an artist?
I would be cooking if I weren’t an artist. I mean, I cook all the time as a creative outlet, but if I had to have a different “job”, cooking would be it.
One thing you could not live without?
If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be?
For a day, I would switch lives with my dear friend and artistic mentor, the artist Ben Livingston, who also made me a fabulous neon sculpture called “Unicorn”
Ben Livingston, Neon for Eliza
Your all-time favorite artist?
It’s a toss-up between Egon Schiele and Henri Matisse.
Egon Schiele, Setting Sun
Henri Matisse, The Joy of Life
I don’t have a dream commission. However, when a commission piece succeeds in being just what the client was thinking and feeling—and when it soothes the soul—then that’s a dream come true!
What would I like my audience to know about my work?
Generally speaking, my work is about trying to capture the essence of something. Living or dead, animate or inanimate, a moment, a place: an overflowing bouquet of tulips; a bundle of dancing entwined dead twigs gathered in winter; the feel of the wind in the evening when summer is fading and fall is coming; a poem, epitaph, or other verse that has significance to myself, to others, to a certain individual, or to a cause.
The aim is to engage the viewer on an emotional level, to speak to the soul.
From Eliza’s Script series: Dream of Sky, 45×45
What makes my your work unique?
I think it’s unique because it’s spontaneous.
Homage to Darrell, 5×7
One goal you would like to achieve in the next five years?
To be able to fully let go and JUST PAINT.
To view Eliza’s artwork in person, please feel free to stop by the gallery!
Weave Light Into Words, 39×72
Come to the Living Water, 39×72